Over the weekend our pet therapy group with both volunteers and their dogs met for the annual award/potluck get-together. When we visit patients, we’re work alone so it’s always great fun to see everyone together with their dogs, compare notes & hear about their experiences. There are some very talented dogs in our group and many of them have hundreds of visits, having been involved with the program for many years.
We began this odyssey last Spring so our total number of visits are puny by comparison to the seasoned pros in our program. Granted I had a bad motor scooter accident two months after starting visits and was completely housebound until mid Autumn so our number of visits was rather low, yet it didn’t stop Sam from practicing on me while I recuperated for over 4 months. Although the injuries weren’t life threatening, they were fairly acute and resulted in surgery a couple of months after the accident to ‘crochet’ my shoulder back together. Sam had just started the program in April but continued to perform the work he’s so well suited for during my recuperation. He’d ‘check-in’ with me several times a day by laying his head on my leg and looking up at me with those soulful, amber eyes, tail furiously wagging with a “you need anything kind of look?” Without those daily check-ins, I’m not sure what I would have done to keep my sanity in tact and my spirits buoyed. As it was, all I really could do was watch TV and watch the world go by. While TV can be somewhat entertaining, it isn’t exactly the best way to pass endless hours. Besides, if I had seen another episode of Cupcake Wars, I just might have lost it. To help pass the time, I began watching who-dun-it foreign films to at least keep my brain engaged with something a bit more stimulating. Turns out it’s a great way to learn other languages. I can probably arrest anyone in Swedish, French, Italian and German now. 🙂
I only share this info about the accident to pay tribute to a newbie goof-ball therapy dog that despite being laid up for several months and unable to let him tend to others, he still worked, taking care of me. Recalling those seemingly endless days of recuperation, I am filled with such gratitude knowing he helped me make it through long days and nights and can only hope that’s exactly what he does for those at the hospital. If he’s even close to doing the same for others as he did for me, then I am beyond thrilled. He truly was a life saver of my spirits while I was incapacitated and in pain. He eagerly took that pain from me periodically through his sweet nature & perfect timing and made me smile several times a day for which I shall always be grateful for this marvelous fur-iend. Under his watchful eye, I was provided with time to not focus on my own health condition, but on his constant love and giving nature–a great recipe for the healing process. I salute his 24 visits to people far more sick and injured than I was and know he’s made a difference at hospital/hospice and salute all the dogs and their uprights in our program for their work and commitment as well.
Sam and I are looking forward to more visits with patients, visitors, and staff and toward attending next year’s event but more importantly knowing we do make a difference…as the beat goes on in healthcare through pet therapy.
Congratulations to dogs and handlers everywhere for their dedication to programs all over the country. Trust me, I know firsthand that it makes a big difference. Well done, guys!